The Yorkshire Dales is a National Park in England with a rich natural heritage that consists of moors, valleys, hills and villages. Malham Cove and the Limestone Pavement are the most iconic and well-known natural features of the Yorkshire Dales (Fig 1.1 and 1.2), which were formed by natural geological processes (Yorkshiredales 2018). The various geological features within the Yorkshire Dales emphasise its natural heritage, which has only come under threat through increased tourism. This blog will detail and explain how Sustainable Tourism has been used to protect the Yorkshire Dales.

What is Sustainable Tourism:

Sustainable tourism was created in the early 1990s as a result of the largely noticeable negative impacts caused by tourism in natural environments (Canavan 2014, Murphy 2014 and Gössling et al 2005). This damage to natural environments consisted of many forms like littering, footpath erosion and pollution with some tourist resort expansion leading to further damages being caused (Canavan 2014, Mooney 2018 and Murphy 2014). Fig 1.3 and 1.4 show the litter and the increase in population caused in the Yorkshire Dales. This along with the loss of community, pollution, congestion, footpath erosion, damage to wildlife and overcrowding that is significantly threatening the peaceful, scenic, agricultural natural heritage of the Yorkshire Dales (Murphy 2014).

The issues mentioned above were the reason Sustainable Tourism was created, however, it lacks a specific definition. Pünjer et al (2013) and Juganaru (2008) detail that within the European Union the key aims of Sustainable Tourism are-

  • Preserve natural and cultural resources
  • Minimise negative impacts from tourism
  • Promote community well being
  • Reducing seasonality of demand
  • Reducing and minimising environmental impact due to tourism transportation
  • Increase tourism accessibility
  • Improve quality of tourism jobs

The Yorkshire Dales Approach to Sustainable Tourism: 

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 09.54.32
Fig 1.5: Yorkshire Dales management plan

The Yorkshire Dales National Park authorities have taken sustainable tourism very seriously as they encouraged local businesses that deal with tourists to share ideas on how to attract visitors, whilst reducing the impact on the natural environment (Yorkshirepost 2011). The Yorkshire Dales itself provides education, understanding and enjoyment to people visiting the local area, which highlights the beauty of the area and why it must be protected (Yorkshiredales 2018). In the effort to minimise the damage caused by litter to the environment many Sustainable Tourism strategies have been implemented. The strategies include fines, provision of more bins and education on the impact littering causes to the to the park and the natural environment (Yorkshiredales 2018). The strategies of the Yorkshire Dales to protect the park and its natural heritage are all linked as part of the whole management plan to conserve the area, as shown by fig 1.5.

path fix
Fig 1.6: Repaired walking paths

To tackle the issue of pollution and congestion the reduction of cars has been successful through the implementation of more buses and bus routes (Beeching 2004). The footpath erosion that occurs in the Yorkshire Dales is a big issue and to combat this trails and routes are well signposted to reduce the erosion on non-direct paths (Beeching 2004). This, however, does not prevent footpath erosion all-together and the National Park authorities and volunteers help rebuild damaged paths through manual labour, which restores the heritage of the paths as shown by fig 1.6 (Yorkshiredales 2018). The natural heritage of the Yorkshire Dales is well protected through the use of Sustainable Tourism, which has helped mitigate and minimise the impacts caused by tourists.


The use of Sustainable Tourism is a smart and effective way to protect the natural heritage of the Yorkshire Dales and would be effective in other natural heritage sites across the world. It is through the use of sustainable tourism that the Yorkshire Dales and its natural geological features can be protected for future generations to understand and enjoy.


Beeching, S. (2004). MAKING TOURISM IN THE YORKSHIRE DALES TRULY SUSTAINABLE. Available: Last accessed 11.10.2018.

Canavan, B., 2014. Sustainable tourism: development, decline and de-growth. Management issues from the Isle of Man. Journal of Sustainable Tourism22(1), pp.127-147.

Gössling, S., Peeters, P., Ceron, J.P., Dubois, G., Patterson, T. and Richardson, R.B., 2005. The eco-efficiency of tourism. Ecological Economics54(4), pp.417-434.

Juganaru, I.D., Juganaru, M. and Anghel, A.N.D.R.E.E.A., 2008. Sustainable tourism types. Annals of University of Craiova-Economic Sciences Series, 2(36), pp.797-804.

Mooney, C. (2018). The Impacts of Leisure and Tourism on the Brecon Beacons National Park. Available: Last accessed 11.10.2018.

Murphy, S.A., 2014. Sustainable tourism development in UK National Parks: principles, meaning & practice. York St John University.

Pünjer, L.S., Mose, I. and Schaal, P., 2013. Sustainable Tourism in National Parks–The impact of the peak district environmental quality mark.

Yorkshiredales. (2018). Welcome to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Available: Last accessed 07.10.2018.

Yorkshirepost. (2011). Eco-tourism strategy launched to preserve Dales landscapes. Available: Last accessed 07.10.2018

Fig 1.1:

Fig 1.2:

Fig 1.3:

Fig 1.4- From Murphy (2014)

Fig 1.5: